Dominican Dictionary: Our 8 Favorite Slang Words in Honor of MTV’s ‘Washington Heights!'

By now, you’ve heard the growing buzz around MTV’s new docu-series Washington Heights.

Premiering tonight at 10/9c, the show follows the lives of nine friends who hail from New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood and, as most young adults, are fighting like all hell in pursuance of their dreams. We hung out with the cast members recently at MTV's NYC officies - check out our Instagram for exclusive photos.

Located in upper Manhattan, Washington Heights is a heavily-Dominican hood. And though not all of the cast members are of Dominican blood, we’re expecting some slang terms to make its way onto the small screen. That’s exactly why we’ve prepared a Dominican dictionary for you. As with other Spanish-speaking countries and their choice of words, the Dominican dialect is an unfamiliar world for the uninitiated. We hope you’ll benefit.

So go on, get your Dominican dialect on:

Baina (or Vaina):

A “thing.” Literally, any “thing.” Big or small. A word used not just for objects, a “baina” can be anything from a movie scene, or a ridiculous situation. You may often hear Dominicans say “Mira esa baina!” (“Look at that baina!”)


The infamous “coño” is not limited to just Dominicans’ use, but let’s just say they’re a huge fan of the word. It’s slang for "damn" and considered a curse word. Depending on the lilt in your voice and how long you space the word out, “coño” can express everything from frustration, anger, sad sentiment, to lust. Check out this “coño” guide by hilarious YouTube personality Sir Nube Negra.

Anda El Diablo (or AndaelDiablo):

You say this phrase when you’re at the peak of frustration. It literally means “The Devil Walks,” but when used in everyday conversation, it means something more along the lines of “damn it to hell.” Either way, the person is pissed.


Simply, slang for “What’s up?” – “What’s good?” – “Tell me about it.” You want the down-low on a situation? Say “dimelo.”


Derived from the word “dizque,” “dique” means “That’s what I heard,” or “supposedly.” The word is usually accompanied with eye-rolling and a half-hearted shoulder shrug. Perhaps some lip-pursing as well, depending on what your style is.


The head boss of the Dominican food chain, the word “platano” (Spanish for “plantain” can also be used to describe a Dominican, usually a male. After all, you are what you eat… or so they say. 


“Everything is good,” “everything is cool”… “tato.”

Tiguere (or Tigre):

The word’s literal meaning is “tiger,” but a “tiguere” is a hustler with tremendous street-smarts and swag. Women can be “tigeras.” A “tiguere” is someone who would not be approved your mami, but hey, if that’s your type, go for it. We only ask that you proceed with caution.